“Time to End Excuses”: Understanding Gender Equality

Gender Equality

Introduction

Gender Based Violence

United Nations defines Gender Based Violence (GBV) as “violence that is directed against a person on the basis of gender”, which mean breaching the fundamental freedom of life, liberty, security, dignity, equality between women and men, and most importantly integrity of both men and women.

Gender Based violence (GBV) is a violence that is directed towards a specific gender. Although, on most of the occasions, the term “gender based violence”is being used in the cases of “violence against women”because of the basic understanding of the fact that most of the gender based violence are directed towards women and girls by men.

The most important fact that our community failed to understand is that “gender inequality also effects men, transgender people, and gender non-conforming”. The point of focus here is the“gender relations”which is usually the instigator (normally seen in most of the cases) of gender violence. Thus, to address this issue, we have to address the issues which strives today in the name of culture and rituals. These in the name of “cultural norm” encourages gender violence.

Gender Based Violence is an international issue which has effected women and children in nation in the world. UN Women estimates that “One out of five women worldwide will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime”. The most important issue here is, the majority of the children abused are girls. In many nations, house hold labour is not covered in state laws and hence children are easily exploited in the name of house hold workers. This lack of legality here affects over 600 million women worldwide. The inability to punish perpetrators of this heinous crime is the problem, as this happens in the name of cultural normsand the perpetrators walk free. Another important issue to address here is the lack of fear in the eyes of perp’s. This adversely affects women and girls on a global level. It is also important to understand that women and girls will benefit the world by bringing international development, peace and progress.

There are different types of Gender Based Violence and most of them are “violent” in nature. Most of the times, women and girls become victims of more than one type of violence. Women and girls are forced to marry at the point of rape and sexual violence. Violence especially in conflict zones leads to rape, and sexual slavery, which further leads to trafficking and prostitution. Other forms of gender based violence are Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and honour killing, which even after strict norms and “female children” oriented government programs, is being carried out in developing and developed nations.

Thus, because of the various forms of gender based violence, policies to protect women from violence should be cross cutting and wide reach. Focussing on an education based solution will tackle the “deep rooted” cultural norm, which the legislation cannot tackle alone. At the same time strengthening prosecution and legislation is also must as it will bring back the “long lost” trust in the system. This will further solidify the commitment of authorities to tackle the issue of violence and long existing patriarchal norms.

Gender bias in Education

The issue of gender bias in education is surrounded by many problems within our education system, especially in the developing nations, and in areas with cultural patriarchy. This necessarily does not mean that gender bias does not happen in developed nations, but it is relatively much lower than developing nations hence and beyond our focus area. Some gender bias in education occurs due to early marriage, motherhood, and female teacher shortages. One such example is of Yemen. Gender Bias has been reportedly been the highest in the schools in Yemen. This is because girls are married as soon as they reach the elementary schools, and usually have children later. Moreover, Yemeni males, especially in the rural regions, object to women being taught by men.

Now the discussion of “barriers in education” raises one question: Why is this a problem at all? Putting all the known facts aside “feminism and equal rights” for a moment, there are numerous benefits a nation can achieve from education. To begin with, there are eight UN Millennium Development Goals which are designed to eliminate poverty and to empower people to live their lives fully. Out of eight Millennium Development Goals, two are focussed directly on gender in education: “One is to achieve universal primary education”, while the other is to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.

By achieving the goal of universal primary education, people will have more appropriate skills, skills which will then match their requirements in the market, and then by understanding their value in the system,they will built better civil society and bring better governance. It is the first step to achieve the secondary objective and a possible approach for tertiary task, both which if achieved will create them a cosmopolitan civilian.

Conclusion

Achieving gender equality is important but women representation in government, employment opportunities for women, and job security is far more important. It enables an opening arena for women to express diverse range of opinions and decision making, which can promote innovation, sustainable development and better public policy and economic development.Eliminating gender equality does not only mean that women are as free as men in choosing their carriers and making their own paths, but it also mean that the entire society is freeand the ideas for welfare and development for the society is multiplied because of the larger number of contributors.

 

About the Author: Anant Mishra is a Former Youth Representative to United Nations. He has served in number of committees as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and United Nations Security Council (UNCS)

 

 

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